By George Zhang, Photography Editor After countless days of horrendous weather, I decided to take a break from pickleball and move on to a sport that could be played in more suitable conditions. I hopelessly searched day and night for the right activity but to no avail. That is, until one day, when I caught...
By George Zhang, Photography Editor
After countless days of horrendous weather, I decided to take a break from pickleball and move on to a sport that could be played in more suitable conditions. I hopelessly searched day and night for the right activity but to no avail. That is, until one day, when I caught our paper’s business manager watching a sport that piqued my interest: an intense squash match.
After talking to him and a few other friends, I decided to make the switch. It turns out that our T/E Life section editor also partakes in this sport. As a loyal member of the Sports section, I challenged her to a duel, with the honor of our respective sections on the line.
We set our showdown on a Friday night at Berwyn Squash — with the entire editorial board coming to spectate. We followed the traditional rules of squash: players play each game to 11 points and matches are decided in a best of three games series.
As I walked into Berwyn Squash, I felt a wave of confidence. After all, I did watch a three minute video titled “3 MUST KNOW Beginner Squash Fundamentals | Squash Tips” before leaving.
I walked onto the court and saw my opponent already warming up. Copying what she was doing, I got a ball and hit it against the wall. The first hit was clean, with the loud cracking sound ricocheting throughout the court. “Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad,” I thought. I was terribly mistaken. As the ball bounced back, I wound up my arms in anticipation, ready to slam the ball back into the wall. But I made a grave mistake: I did not account for the fact that squash balls bounce significantly less than tennis balls, and so I whiffed the shot completely – in front of the entire editorial board that was watching from above.
The first game went along the same lines. I either whiffed every shot directed towards me or didn’t get to the ball in time before it bounced twice. However, through these failures, I learned that positioning was a vital aspect of the game and that recovering during points was a crucial skill. And so, the next point I was sure to hit some shots back and exchange some nice rallies with my opponent. I lost 11-0.
My opponent agreed to play the next game with a slight handicap – using her left hand to hold the racket. The next game felt much easier as I hit a multitude of dropshots and volleys and ultimately won 11-3. Now it was time for the final round – the true decider of which section would be the best. Months of trash talk and banter has finally come down to this moment. I’ve never felt more weight on my shoulders in my entire life.
We decided the handicap for this game would be my opponent not wearing any shoes. I served the ball and the game began. The first few points were not too bad as we exchanged points, and the game was tied 3-3. But that was when disaster struck. I started getting a cramp on my left ankle, but I decided to play through it. This led me to lose every point after that, eventually finishing the game with a loss 11-3.
That also concluded our match, in which my opponent won 2-1. Upon reflection, I thought it was a great experience and that squash was genuinely a thrilling sport to play. Although I was hit with a loss in my first ever match, I was able to learn a lot from my defeat and I will come back better than ever next time.
George Zhang can be reached at [email protected]
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